Canary Islands

15 June 2018

Moss-covered laurel trees and geranium at Garajonay Park in La Gomera.
The Canary Islands are officially, in Spanish, "Islas Canarias" or informally just "the Canaries." What ever you call them, they are the colossus of Macaronesia. The seven main islands, plus islets, add up to more land and more people (over 2 million) than the Azores, Madeira, and Cabo Verde archipelagos combined.
We visited the two major islands
(Tenerife and Gran Canaria)
plus interesting La Gomera.
By Africa not Spain: The Canaries are only a short 100 kilometers off the coast of Morocco but they are ten times as far from mainland of Spain (over 1,000 km away).

Spain grants some local autonomy but the islands are still an integral part of the country and the EU.

Oddly, the two rival big cities (Las Palmas and Santa Cruz) serve as co-capitals.

As in the Azores and Madeira, we saw handsome old towns built centuries ago.

The beautiful old town in Las Palmas on Gran Canaria

Part of the wonderful, large old town in San Cristóbal de La Laguna on Tenerife.

Left: Iglesia de la Concepción with its famous bell tower in Santa Cruz.
Right: Even Las Rosas, a little village in Los Gomera island, was picture perfect.

One unexpected urban sight was the phenomenal Auditorio de Tenerife. As we discovered in our tour, its concert and opera halls were equally impressive.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife had large manicured parks near our hotel plus this great esplanade ("rambla") for many blocks down this boulevard.

Leaving the urban areas, let's look at the great scenery with great volcano peak as we also saw in the Azores and Madeira except even higher.

Driving way up above the clouds...

...we see towering Teide, the highest point in Spain
(over 12,000 feet, over 3,700 meters).

Teide and me

At Teide National Park these creatures from outer space are called "Tower of Jewels" or Tenerife Bugloss (echium wildpretii) endemic to Tenerife.

A valley in La Gomera. No dull topography on these little islands.

Viewed from the hillside above, this street (near Las Rosas) looked like toy village.

This sand beach in Las Palmas was an exception to the usual black pebble beaches.

Sunrise viewed from the ferry from Tenerife to Gran Canaria.
On every island we had visited in Macronesia we said, "A few more days here would be nice." That was true in the Canaries as well. The day trip via ferry to unheralded La Gomera island was an extra treat. In fact, could have spent an entire surreal day just wandering among those glowing green, entwined, moss-covered trees rising up out the thick carpet of purple geranium.

For an overview of our trip through all four of the North Atlantic's Macaronesia archipelagos (Azores, Madeira, Canaries, Cabo Verde), go here.